Mem'ries light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored mem'ries of the way we were

Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me, would we, could we

Mem'ries may be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget

So it's the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember the way we were

The way we were


Lyrics submitted by MiChi83

The Way We Were Lyrics as written by Marilyn Bergman Alan Bergman

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Tratore

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

The Way We Were song meanings
Add Your Thoughts

12 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General Comment

    It's about the misty memories "we" might of left behind, about old friendships and what the past has meant to "us"."Whats to painful to remember we simply choose to forget?", aint that the truth. The movie "The way we were", is a simple but memorable song of the friends, significant others and everyone else that have touched us so deeply, we never forget them and always have them in our memories...This is CHEESY, makes me cry ever time. When the character of Ms. Streisand and Robert Redford see eachother after 10yrs??? And this song comes up...This song is about everyones memory lane.

    Thecitygirlon June 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    well said, City Girl. i realized even if i can and will forget the past, i cannot get rid of myself, who is made of what happened in the past. those memories doesn't only exist in my brain, they are the material that built me. I am them!

    lovejoyon June 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Our memory distorts the true nature of our past relationships. An old flame from many, many years ago recently contacted me and told me she thought her life would have been much better if we had stayed together. Though I was flattered, and though we did have some very good memories, I realized that she was conveniently forgetting the bad times and what caused us to eventually break up. As the song says, "Mem'ries, may be beautiful and yet What’s too painful to remember We simply choose to forget So it's the laughter We will remember Whenever we remember The way we were"

    procktheboaton June 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I do agree with everyone above that this song is about remembering the good times between to lovers who have long since parted with one another, but I also have to say that it is partly about the world, particularly the US during the 1930's and 1940's. Remember the movie for which this song was written was about McCarthyism and ethnic and class oriented struggles. Today we tend to look at the past as 'the good old days' but this really is only true if you were a straight white christian man. But still, 'its the laughter we will remember, whenever we remember the way we were'

    ziegfeldgirl12on December 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    For me this song is all about how you can't return to what you were. Past relationships, once tainted, can never be the same. and once you figure out that its never going to be as great as it was before, you just leave it there, and move on. And so we try to be grateful for what we had, and we try to forget the bad times, shown when she says -

    "Mem'ries, may be beautiful and yet What's too painful to remember We simply choose to forget

    but i think the whole point of the song is, that you can't forget the bad things, the way you ended, the person you miss, the things that were said. It's only human to fixate on those things. Because all people are greedy, and so even though we try to be grateful for what we had, we still want more, and its upsetting how you can never get "more" because as james morrison said "you can't play on broken strings."

    Ranion July 25, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    life can be funny. my two best friends, one of 2 years, the other of 12 years, were obsessed with Robert Redford and watched his movies all the time. so naturally, we three heard this song alot. at the time it felt like we would always remember the fun we were having together. now, after discovering that the entire friendship was based on them lying to me, i havent spoken to them anyomore. i miss the good parts, i miss the fun parts, but now i know it was never real. so basically, i miss the lies. now this song means to me what it meant to Katie & Hubble in the movie.

    myownheartbeaton August 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Ironic how life is sometimes like a circle. It ends where it begins. And all we have left are memories. (Hopefully some interesting ones, along with memories of smiles and laughs.) We can love hard and even befriend, but we can't make some things last that were not meant to be. For if they were meant to be, they would simply be. I have loved hard and I have lost hard. And I will not wait my life away for what is never coming. So I will grab life's memories and choose to live...to start a new course. This song is the epitome of that...looking back over our lives and choosing to recall what is beautiful, not painful. For with pain often comes learning and understanding, and hopefully compassion (even if we faulter often). I do not partically care for Steisand's voice and I hate her politics, but I recall quite fondly when and where this song fit beautifully into my life and held such promise. Nobody can ever accuse me of not loving and of not trying. Remember that...

    IllToast2Thaton January 28, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    In retrospect, wow, what a landmark song.

    Now reading along as I listen again, it's amazing how short are the lyrics. So few words.

    Streisand performed it like a true master – extending herself almost beyond then back to the softest whisper. Her singing brings out the full impact of the meaning.

    And a very powerful meaning indeed.

    Any song about memories can become timeless. The melodic impact of Streisand's rendition pins it at the very top.

    verykenon March 09, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    I find this is such a sad song of the harsh realities of life. I am not sure we really get over someone special, maybe we just get over the loss of them in our lives. Memories re-ignite those strong feelings and has us clutching at straws. But sometimes, when you're drowning in a sea of emptiness, clutching straws can seem the only option.

    thistledoon April 19, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Well for me it is about my close teen friend when we had to separate and live on the other side of the world. This is the song I sang to myself about it.

    delia17601on February 02, 2020   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
Dreamwalker
Silent Planet
I think much like another song “Anti-Matter” (that's also on the same album as this song), this one is also is inspired by a horrifying van crash the band experienced on Nov 3, 2022. This, much like the other track, sounds like it's an extension what they shared while huddled in the wreckage, as they helped frontman Garrett Russell stem the bleeding from his head wound while he was under the temporary effects of a concussion. The track speaks of where the mind goes at the most desperate & desolate of times, when it just about slips away to all but disconnect itself, and the aftermath.
Album art
I Can't Go To Sleep
Wu-Tang Clan
This song is written as the perspective of the boys in the street, as a whole, and what path they are going to choose as they get older and grow into men. (This is why the music video takes place in an orphanage.) The seen, and unseen collective suffering is imbedded in the boys’ mind, consciously or subconsciously, and is haunting them. Which path will the boys choose? Issac Hayes is the voice of reason, maybe God, the angel on his shoulder, or the voice of his forefathers from beyond the grave who can see the big picture and are pleading with the boys not to continue the violence and pattern of killing their brothers, but to rise above. The most beautiful song and has so many levels. Racism towards African Americans in America would not exist if everyone sat down and listened to this song and understood the history behind the words. The power, fear, pleading in RZA and Ghostface voices are genuine and powerful. Issac Hayes’ strong voice makes the perfect strong father figure, who is possibly from beyond the grave.
Album art
When We Were Young
Blink-182
This is a sequel to 2001's "Reckless Abandon", and features the band looking back on their clumsy youth fondly.
Album art
Blue
Ed Sheeran
“Blue” is a song about a love that is persisting in the discomfort of the person experiencing the emotion. Ed Sheeran reflects on love lost, and although he wishes his former partner find happiness, he cannot but admit his feelings are still very much there. He expresses the realization that he might never find another on this stringed instrumental by Aaron Dessner.
Album art
Punchline
Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran sings about missing his former partner and learning important life lessons in the process on “Punchline.” This track tells a story of battling to get rid of emotions for a former lover, whom he now realized might not have loved him the same way. He’s now caught between accepting that fact and learning life lessons from it and going back to beg her for another chance.